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Hundreds of Afghan protesters took to the streets on Friday, setting fire to an effigy of US President Barack Obama and demanding the death of a film-maker who they say insulted the Prophet Mohammed.
The demonstration in Nangarhar province, which borders Kabul to the west and Pakistan to the east, saw clerics in the Shinwari tribe call for a $100,000 bounty on the head of the producer of the film, “Innocence of Muslims”.
An Obama effigy was also torched, said Zaher Ali, deputy chief of Ghanikhail district’s council of clerics, but the protest passed off peacefully and fears about demonstrations in the capital Kabul were not realised.
“Death to America”, and “death to the enemies of Islam”, shouted the crowd, according to an AFP photographer, in what are fairly routine chants at anti-US protests in Afghanistan.
The low-budget movie, in which actors have strong US accents, portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.
It pokes fun at the Prophet Mohammed and touches on themes of paedophilia and homosexuality, while showing him sleeping with women, talking about killing children and referring to a donkey as “the first Muslim animal”.
Afghanistan is a devout Muslim country where anything seen as insulting to Islam is taken very seriously, often with a violent response.
Riots killed around 40 people earlier this year after US troops burnt copies of the Koran on a military base.